Newport This Week

Ida Lewis Distance Race Starts Friday

Forty eight sailing teams have entered the Ida Lewis Yacht Club’s 18th Ida Lewis Distance Race presented by Bluenose Yacht Sales. The 24-hour overnight competition starts at 11 a.m. Friday, August 18 between Fort Adams State Park and the Pell Bridge; prime viewing spots are Fort Adams and points along the Newport and Jamestown shores as the boats pass Castle Hill and take on one of six newly minted courses (between 105 and 230 nautical miles) chosen in advance by the Ida Lewis Race Committee. (The start also will be livestreamed on the event’s Facebook.)

“We have re-established the Ida Lewis Distance Race as a 24-hour race,” said Event Chair Anselm Richards, “so it has been quite the task to determine courses that will accommodate the various wind speeds and conditions that could transpire. We won’t know until closer to the race which courses will be assigned to what classes, but two things are for sure: the race covers some of the most storied cruising grounds in New England, and it is perfect – not too short, not too long – for veterans and newcomers alike.”

Clockwise from top left: Defending Champion Ken Read (right) sailing doublehanded withSara Stone at the 2022 Ida Lewis Distance Race; Eric Irwin and Mary Martin’s Alliance at the 2022 event; Boudicca at this year’s Rhody Regatta, brothers Tristan Mouligne (left) and John Jay Mouligne aboard Samba, Bill Kneller’s Vento Solare at last year’s race, Brooke Mastrorio’s URSA under sail. (All photos credit Stephen Cloutier except #4 Bill Shea and #6 Ctrl+Click image to download photo

Classes, for boats 28 feet or longer, are ORC 1, ORC 2, PHRF Doublehanded, and PHRF Aloha, PHRF Coronet, and PHRF Bagheera, named after the various flagships of Flag Officers of the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, which was established in 1928.

“I think this year offers the potential of a unique 24-hour course that is not just another mundane upwind and downwind track,” said defending Doublehanded skipper Ken Read (Portsmouth, R.I.), who also won in 2020 and will sail with his younger brotherBrad Read (Middletown, R.I.) aboard the Sunfast 3300 Avalon.

“Sailing with my brother is obviously unique and a complete change of pace for us both,” continued Read, a veteran America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailor who, like his brother, has won many sailing titles in various one-design classes. “Doublehanded racing for us is exceptionally fun, and I wish more people would try it.”

With ten Doublehanded teams signed up, the class is promising to be one of the most hotly contested, and the Read brothers won’t be the only siblings that are formidable competitors within it. Tristan Mouligne (Portsmouth, R.I.), who has won the Ida Lewis Distance Race twice with a full crew, will sail with his brother John Jay (Middletown, R.I.) aboard the Quest 30 Samba.

“I’ve been racing doublehanded since I was 13 years old when I crewed for my dad in the Bermuda 1-2 Race,” said Mouligne. “That was 30 years ago; we won, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Now that it has become a serious class in the Ida Lewis Distance Race, I’ve gone back to doublehanded, because it’s what I love to do. I’m just a decent amateur sailor who really loves it. Doublehanded sailing gives me the opportunity to race against people like Kenny Read one-on-one; how cool is that!?” Mouligne also explained that he and his brother completed their first Bermuda 1-2 together when he was 18 and John Jay was 15.

David Greenstein (Stamford, Conn.), who won ORC in 2022, returns to skipper a different entry and the largest boat in the regatta, the Mills 68 Space Monkey in ORC 1. Last year, Michael D’Amelio (Boston, Mass.) was second to Greenstein and returns this year with his tried-and-true ORC 1 entry, the J/V66 Denali, to settle the score.

ORC 2 might just be the most geographically diverse, with entries from Florida, Pennsylvania and Connecticut and not one but two entries from Texas: Chris Lewis’s J/44 Kenai from Austin, and Albrecht Goethe’s J/46 Hamburg II from Seabrook.

Defending Champion Gordon Fletcher (North Kingstown, R.I.) will sail his JPK45Take Two in PHRF Coronet, the largest class with 12 entries, and will be up against the likes of Brooke Mastrorio’s (Newport, R.I.) J/109 URSA and Eric Irwin and Mary Martin’s (Mystic, Conn.) J/122 Alliance.

” I always learn something new about sailing, myself, and my teammates every year I participate,” said Mastrorio, who counts this as his fifth time sailing the event. “Our team has a wide array of sailing experience from racing in weeknight PHRF and one-design events to winning North American Championships to cruising in all parts of the world. I always find this race special in that our team becomes more connected through sharing this experience. It can be fun, challenging, thrilling, scary, frustrating, and so gratifying all within a five-minute span!”

Alliance is sailing in the Ida Lewis Distance Race for its second time. “The Ida Lewis Distance Race is an ideal local race event to develop crew for longer distance races such as Newport to Bermuda and Annapolis to Newport,” said Eric Irwin. “We enjoy providing offshore racing opportunities, particularly to younger and diverse sailors.”

Marching to the same drummer in Coronet is Bill Kneller’s J/109 Vento Solare, which will be sailing the Race for its tenth time. Having won the Race’s Youth Challenge (where at least 40% of the crew must be junior sailors) in 2022, Kneller has assembled a youth crew again this year.

In Aloha, the Baltic 56 Runaway Bunny represents Weekapaug (R.I.) Yacht Club, where skipper Ben Mackay (Jackson, Wyoming) learned to sail dinghies almost 40 years ago. The team is comprised of mostly offshore sailors with a variety of experience from dinghy racing to formal international yacht racing. “Most of us have completed numerous offshore passages together,” said Mackay. “One thing (among many) that makes overnight sailing fun for us is our diverse ages, ranging from 38 to 84 years old. We thought it would be fun to try our hand sailing against the clock and see what happens!”

Runaway Bunny will no doubt be chased by Richard Moody‘s (Jamestown, R.I.) R/P 66 Boudicca, Bruce Chafee’s R/P 42 Rikki, and other top competitors in this amped up Aloha class.

In the new Bagheera class, Matthew Jorgensen’s (East Lyme, Conn.) Wiggers Peterson 37 Valour is looking to expand its horizons. “Valour is a team made up of Corinthian sailors with aspirations of stepping up our level of racing and doing more offshore races.” The team will be competing against such veterans as EC Helme’s (Newport, R.I.) J/92s Spirit and Rob and Pat Connerney’s Hanse 43 Helios.

Finally, Shake-A-Leg Miami’s The Impossible Dream will participate In its own Exhibition Multihull Class. The organization behind this 58’ wheelchair accessible catamaran is a nonprofit with a mission of demonstrating how design and technology can make boating accessible to all and inspire people to do more. The Ida Lewis Distance Race will be included in a documentary being filmed about the boat.

The Ida Lewis Distance Race fleet is expected to return mid-morning on Saturday to a finish just inside Newport Harbor where Ida Lewis Yacht Club volunteers can sight the finish line from their clubhouse on Lime Rock and greet each team on the water with a congratulatory bottle of Prosecco.

Presenting Sponsor for the 2022 Ida Lewis Distance Race is Bluenose Yacht Sales. Gold Sponsor is Contender Sailcloth. Silver Sponsors are Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard and Hogan Associates/Christie’s International Real Estate. Bronze Sponsors are Langan Design Partners, Newport Construction Services, Inc. and Gold’s Wine and Spirits. Contributing Sponsors are Toni Mills Graphic Design, Mac Designs, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, and Stella Artois.


About Bluenose Yacht Sales
Bluenose Yacht Sales is one of the largest dealers for new and used quality yachts in New England and represents leading brands including Jeanneau, CNB, Pegasus Yachts, Saffier Yachts, and EXCESS Catamarans. With offices in Newport, Portsmouth, Boston, and Essex, CT, Bluenose Yacht Sales’ experienced staff is dedicated to assisting clients with integrity and trust and offering an exceptional boat buying and selling experience. With over 50 years of combined yacht sales experience, the entire Bluenose Yacht Sales team is committed to supporting shorthanded racing and is excited to be returning as the Presenting Sponsor of the 2023 Ida Lewis Distance Race.

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